Mabon Activities

With the Fall Harvest just around the corner, I thought it might be time for another lifestyle post, with some fun Mabon family/group-friendly activities.

Mabon is the second harvest and is celebrated at the Autumn Equinox. Mabon is the Welsh God of all things wild and free. He is also associated with the Sun God, whose power dies on this day. During Mabon, we give thanks to the spirit of vegetation for the sacrifices made so that we can live through the winter. The Goddess at this Sabbat is the grandmotherly crone, warm and wise.

  • Have a Pot Luck or Harvest Feast and share your harvested fruits and veggies. Give thanks and respect to the harvest and share stories of your plans for the coming winter months. It is good for everyone to share and be part of a group.

  • Take some time to prepare your yard for the coming winter months. Clean up garbage and branches. Maybe even extend your clean-up to a nearby park or around your neighbourhood. Kids can help tidy or play outside (fresh air is always great), and everyone benefits from helping our Mother Earth and having a clean space.

  • Create a decorative wreath or hanging for your front door using seasonal dressings like acorns, pine cones, and corn bundles. You can incorporate the colours of the season by using red, orange, and yellow ribbons to finish it off.

  • Honour the wildlife in your yard by making a homemade bird feeder and watching the wonderful friends it brings to your yard. (Below are basic instructions for making your own, with an easy-to-follow guide for children too.)

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Visit from the Regional Druid

This past weekend, we were graced by a visit from our Regional Druid, Jaime Cadorette-Thifault. She was an absolute delight.

In addition to showing her the local sights (Peggy’s Cove, Fisherman’s Cove, and several watering holes), we were lucky enough to have Jaime for a Welcoming Ritual where the Gods from multiple pantheons were hailed and gifts were exchanged.

It was an honour to play host to such a wonderful (and funny) woman, and we appreciate being included in her tour of the canadian groves.

A Declaration of Intolerance

In an effort to create a sense of solidarity for the right and good, while also taking a stand against such intolerance as racism and Nazism, the Grove of Nova Scotia Druids have added their name to a Declaration of Intolerance.

Please take a moment to read and consider.

www.pagandeclaration.com

Beltane Ritual

Beltane was a great time. We danced the may pole, shared delicious snacks, and had a wonderful ritual with Grove and friends.

During the ritual, we pulled two Oghams as usual and were met with the following: Blackthorn, which represents challenges, difficulty, and poison, followed by Yew, which represents access to ancestors, death, rebirth, and faith. Suffice to say, from great challenges come lessons, new life, and rebirth. We will embrace the challenges that are coming to us, knowing that the outcomes will be worth the efforts and struggle.

Good luck to you all with your Spring and Summer ventures and Blessed Beltane!

Beltane Activities

Beltane is just around the corner and I know you are all looking for family-friendly activities to celebrate. Beltane is a time to celebrate fertility and, while you may not want to beat your children over the head with this (so to speak), you do want them to understand it brings life and all the things they love about spring and summer.

Here are some fun group and family-friendly activities you can do to celebrate.

Crafts:

Make a floral crown or cone. Teach the children to be respectful of what they harvest and to do so mindfully. (Adults, you need to remember this too!) For your pretty flower crown or bouquet, something is dying. If you are not a fan of this, try potting a plant to bring inside, and decorate the pot.

Ribbon is also highly associated with Beltane because of the May Pole (which you can always dance by the way), so why not try braiding some ribbon crowns or hanging ribbons from trees to decorate your celebration.

Have a Bonfire:

The Bale Fire is a long-standing tradition used for protection and purification. It is also a fantastic gathering point for stories and celebrations. So why not grab the marshmallows and have yourself a little roast.

Go A-Maying:

Take a walk though the woods and enjoy some of the new life that is budding up around you. You can take pictures, clip trimmings, or draw what you see and maybe even enjoy a picnic in nature. It’s always good to get some fresh air and commune with nature.

Gardening:

This is a great way to introduce your children to the idea of fertility without having to explain the “birds and bees”, if you aren’t quite ready. The seeds breed life and life is all around us. Children can help by tilling and watering the soil. They will gain a sense of satisfaction and acquire new skills through helping with the planting.

 

Dance that May Pole:

Beltane is all about fertility and fun. What better way to wholesomely celebrate than dancing around a giant phallic object and decorating it? Try to weave your ribbons over-under-over-under to create a beautiful pattern down your may pole. You can also tie wishes for the next year to the pole before wrapping it. Focus on those hopes as you dance, and watch the magic come to life.

Bake a Green Man Cake:

We all love the Green Man and we all love cake! Lets combine the two and enjoy! (Keep scrolling for a recipe!)

I hope this has helped you in deciding what to do with your May Day celebrations. Enjoy!

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Spring Cleaning

Ritual is not only for the High Days. We have smaller life rituals that we perform each and every day: the ritual of brushing our teeth, the ritual of getting dressed, etc. With Ostara and Spring just around the corner, I thought it was time for some “Spring Cleaning” which, as with all things, is best done mindfully.

I love to clean, so there’s no issue for me there, but if you are not a fan of scrubbing things down and tidying up, maybe doing so mindfully will help you to achieve a greater sense of accomplishment and comfort.

The ritual of Spring Cleaning has existed since the dawn of time. In North America, it is typically done in response to the cold and wet climate we endure throughout winter. Traditionally, it would be a time to dust and air out the home, change the hay in bedding, and be rid of all things that accumulated in the home during the harsher months. Nowadays, it is mostly an excuse to give the house a good once-over and recycle things we no longer need.

So apart from the obvious aspects of cleaning, like removal of dust and debris, cleaning surfaces or carpets, and laundering things that may get forgotten, we should keep in mind a few things:

  • Firstly, you must perform each task with a strong sense of intent. Focus your energy on removing not only the physical mess but the emotional and spiritual mess as well. Visualize your home filling with a bright light as you cleanse it.
  • When performing a ritual, it is best not to use harsh chemicals, if they can be avoided. Try a natural brand or even making your own cleaning solution with vinegar, water and essential oils to give the house a fresh smell without the burning compounds. (Check out for DIY natural cleaning inspiration here, here, and here!)
  • Clean from top to bottom and from the back of the house out the front door.
  • Burn sage in order to cleanse and purify the air.
  • Open your most Easterly windows to allow the energy of the sun to pour in.

Good luck, folks!

 

(Check out our “Spring Cleaning” post from 2015, including a “House Cleaning Ritual” document, here)

Magic Potion for Sickness

 

It is that time of year. We are all getting sick or have been sick. What are your favourite remedies? For me, I have my “Sick Tea”.

Whenever I am feeling under the weather, I mix up this “tea” and sip it back like there is no tomorrow. My “tea” consists of freshly grated ginger, two or three slices of lemon, and a big dollop of honey all mixed together with some nice hot water. I prefer this to conventional medicine… and why not?

Ginger is packed with antioxidants that help boost your immune system. It can also help with nausea, heartburn, and indigestion. We’re off to a good start!

Lemon is high in vitamin C –great for you overall, but particularly if you are feeling sick. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant, and helps the body form and maintain connective tissue, including bones, blood vessels, and skin. Lemon also helps to break up mucus when you are sick and can help reduce the inflammation of a sore throat.

Honey has been used for years to sooth sore and scratchy throats. It has antibacterial properties and the natural peroxides in honey act as disinfectants, which may help reduce inflammation and thereby pain.

Mix the three together and you’ve got yourself a powerful “Sick Tea”.

Good luck, cold sufferers!! *sniff sniff

“Good Witch” – “ Bad Witch”

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I recently came upon an article discussing the “crazies” in Pagan communities. Here, you should read it too:

http://badwitch.es/pagans-know-total-douchebags/

But I’ll give you some highlights…

 

A lot of pagans? Douchebags. Complete tools. So, so fucked up.

 

The thing with paganisim, witchcraft, wicca and all that jazz is that it is a religion of individuality, and the shadow side of that is that it can really easily turn into a religion of ego.

 

I couldn’t take it. I was done with the events where one douchebag would talk over the main speaker, just to prove how much he knew.

I was done hanging out with people who wanted to be witchy because they wanted to be edgy and cool.

I was done with the shallowness of it all, with the constant ego battles, with the drama and the showing off

 

 

Yes, yes, I know every community has them. But don’t you feel like ours attracts just a few more?

I have personally hit this wall more than once and proclaimed that, “I AM DONE” or, “THAT’S IT, I AM GOING SOLITARY.  But here’s the thing: each time I do, I somehow come back… With the support of the wonderful people I have met though my Grove, I continuously end up attending and even hosting “Meet & Greets”.

I can relate to Demi’s desire to draw back from what I call “holier than thou” pagans or the ones who believe the world is owed to them, but if I truly gave up I would never have met some of the wonderful people I now call my Grove.

So, keep trying. Pulling back can sometime give you much needed time to heal, but, when you are ready, be sure to reach out again and tag in someone new.

Communing With Nature

We all strive to do this a little more –to get out and experience nature; to take a walk and meditate on the growth and the decay; to appreciate it all. With the sunny weather we have been having lately, I set out to get my son started early. He is at an age where touching everything is terribly exciting, so we wandered around the yard to see what we could find.

I thought it could be fun, for just a moment, to consider and see the world though his eyes. Everything is new. Everything is exciting. Each and every leaf is a new texture. And every colour is brilliant and thrilling.

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Meditation is part of the Druid way, and it can be challenging, but there are many forms of mediation. For me, one of the best ways is to walk in nature and focus only on my breath and embracing the environment around me. It is a single focus that calms the mind and body, and I hope to pass it on to my little one.

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I hope we can all take some time, with summer at its peek, to enjoy the beauty that surrounds us all.